It is astonishing that anyone who claims to love America would question why the refusal of Mitt Romney to release his taxes, is causing great concern and angst to most reasonable people.
I am tired of the absurd reasons Romney continues to proffer as the rationale for his blunt (and almost arrogant) refusal to release his taxes. Romney claims the Democrats will use it for more opposition research etc. SO WHAT? The basis for him to release his taxes is a real and weighty one. What the Democrats will or can do with it, is not the business of the populace. The duty to release taxes is one OWED TO US, THE AMERICAN electorate.
While it is not required by law that any Presidential candidate release many tax returns, morally it is the proper thing to do. Since Romney is asking to be elected into the highest political office in the land, and that office requires that Americans make every effort to elect a president-who at least on the face of it, appears to be beyond reproach, his tax returns should be released. He is morally bound to share many years of his financial stewardship with us. The political battles between the Democrats and Republicans are ancillary to Romney’s duty to US, the American Citizenry.
I am a lawyer, and like many other lawyers who are interested in the Science and Philosophy of the law, I have discussed, researched and written about the continuing overlap between moral and legal issues. For example, no one is expected to assist an injured child you see on the street, and legally, you are generally not culpable for such acts. However, ignoring that child, is a moral failure and society is not happy with those who choose to ignore such a moral duty.
Mitt Romney is not legally bound to release his taxes when running for the office of President. However, based on moral grounds, and the seriousness and importance of that office, over the years certain procedural checks have been put into place to guide the run for that office. One of those checks is provision of many years of tax returns by Presidential candidates! The electorate, it is generally believed, should be provided evidence of the personal financial stewardship of anyone who hopes to hold that office. This is a valid expectation supported by basic moral norms.
Unfortunately, this refusal by Romney to release NO more than 2-years of tax returns issue has become a hyper partisan one. Consequently, many people on both sides of the political divide are making irrational statements that tend to minimize the sheer enormity of this act by Mitt Romney. While I do not know the aliens who told Reid that Romney had not paid his taxes, Romney opened the door to speculation and debate about his character by his refusal to be transparent on this key matter.
On the other hand, one Conservative commenter whom I generally respect, recently claimed that it was okay for Romney not to release his taxes because he , Romney, did not feel like doing so!!! You see, I think this types of statements are dangerous and irresponsible. Romney should release his taxes whether he feels like it or not. The elections are not about feeling and doing what you want to do. The elections are about getting the right (and most moral, to the extent possible) candidate into office.
I fully support the re-election of Barack Obama —last election as many of you know, I happily made a somewhat late switch to Obama, BUT as it stands, I do not see any reason AT ALL to vote against his re-election — BUT I would NOT be considering Obama AT ALL if he had refused to release his taxes.
The precedent Romney is setting by dictating to the populace and the media that he will do as he pleases, despite existing mores and practices regarding the transparency of the office of President, cannot and should not be allowed to stand. It is wrong for anyone, Conservative or Liberal to see this as a party or ideological matter. The tax issue is a matter of safeguarding the sanctity and respect of the office of the president of this country. No one can make his own decision about what the electorate should know of him when he is running for the most important political office in the world. That is not how it works.
I am no politician juggernaut but I can analyze and come to certain conclusions based on the time that has elapsed since the call for Romney to release his taxes started. The first thing to note is that Romney’s character has been damaged, at least to many Independents. Why? His continued refusal seems to indicate that there are things in those taxes that could cause irreparable damage to Romney’s candidature. Those things must be so egregious that he rather be seen as a sleazy business man rather than share the information in his taxes.
The other reason I can glean from Romney’s unyielding stance on the issue, is that the returns contain some instances of tax avoidance which though legal, could expose Romney as morally wanting. No matter what happens, those taxes appear in all likelihood to contain material that could be terminal to his ability to win political office. And that is a matter that should concern EVERYONE.
In seeking an individual to run as his Vice President, everyone expects that Romney will scrutinize probably 20 years of tax returns filed by this person. Why would Romney do so? Because he knows that it is the proper thing to do in that situation! He is in a contest, and he would like to have someone in his corner without a soiled or questionable background.
I hope Americans will think past partisan divides, and demand that Romney release as many tax returns as Obama has done. The issue here is not one of who will win the election or not. The issue is that Americans should not, and cannot elect anyone into political office, especially in this case, a man who is running solely on his financial acumen and much touted skills in that realm, without considerable evidence of their PERSONAL financial stewardship. The right, moral and customary practice of showing many years of tax returns is a good one, a fair one, a justified and useful one and Romney should adhere to that established practice.
This is the American Presidential election. It is NOT an underground sub-movement requiring no transparency. This is not a Cult election either where we cast our votes for a messiah because an alien told someone to tell us to do so!
In running for the office of President Transparency is MANDATORY, and character as evidenced utterances, acts and in PAPER TRAILS SUCH AS IN TAX RETURNS, MATTER!!
Romney, and ANY other candidate running for the presidency of this country MUST release many years of tax returns of evidence of their personal financial stewardship and personal moral standing, because it is the RIGHT and MORAL thing to do.